Which Would You Rather I Should Do
by the American Sunday-School Union
"Which would you rather I should do?" asked
Eddie of his mother, his large blue eyes filling with
"I should rather you would stay with me," was
"Then I will, mother!" and the tears remained
where they were, and did not chase each other down
his plump cheeks. A trembling smile played around
his mouth; for he had conquered himself, and had
readily yielded to his mother's wishes. There had
been a struggle, severe, but short, in his mind, and
when he said, "Then I will, mother," he meant he
could be happy to stay at home, and would not ask
again for permission to go with the other children.
Mrs. Dudley could not resist the impulse to clasp
him to her heart, and tell him he was a good
boy; and this made him still happier. He saw
he had pleased her, and her approving smile was
worth more to him than any enjoyment could be
Eddie, you know, is a little boy, five years old. He
has brothers and sisters older than himself, and they
have fine sport in sliding and skating. Their teacher
takes them every day to enjoy it, and they come
home in high spirits, swinging their skates by their
sides, and talking loud and fast about it.
Eddie has watched them many days from the
nursery window, and has longed to be with them;
but his careful mother has feared he would get hurt
among so many skaters, or perhaps be lost in
one of those "air-holes" which are often found in
the most solid ice; so when Eddie asked her if he
might go to the river, she hesitated, for she did not
like to deny him. "Which would you rather I
would do?" then inquired the dear boy; and when
his mother told him, he did not tease her, but
resumed his place at the window.
Mrs. Dudley resolved to go herself with her little
son to the river, when the children went again.
She did not tell him so, however; but the next day,
when the merry skaters were in the midst of their
enjoyment, she put on her hood, and her warm
blanket-shawl, and thick gloves, and calling Eddie
to her, wrapped him in his wadded coat and
woollen tippet, and placing on his head his "liberty-cap,"—knit
of red and black worsted, with a
tassel dangling from the point—and pulling it
well down over his ears, and covering his fat
hands with warm mittens, they started out on
the white snow. The snow was frozen sufficiently
to bear them, and they had a pleasant walk above
the hidden grass and stones.
Eddie was in great glee. His mother enjoyed it
almost as much as he did, for it was an exhilarating
sight. Some of the boys were sliding, some skating,
and others pushing sleds before them, on which a
mother or sister were sitting. It reminded one of
the pictures we often see of skating in Holland;
and, to make the resemblance more perfect, a Dutchman
was there with his pipe, defiling the pure, fresh
air with its foul odour.
Mrs. Dudley was invited to take a ride, and,
leaving Eddie in the care of another, she was soon
seated on one of the sleds, and speeding away before
a rapid skater. She found it far more swift and
agreeable than riding in the usual way. Eddie, too,
had a ride, and his little heart was brimfull of happiness.
He walked about on the ice quite carefully
The river, on which these children were, rises and
falls with the tide. Eddie saw other boys sliding
off towards an icy meadow bordering on it, and he
thought he would go too. The ice formed an
inclined plane; his feet slipped on its smooth surface,
and down he went; he jumped up, but the
blood from his nose, flowing over his face and coat,
and staining the snow, frightened him, and he uttered
a loud cry. The skaters were with him before his
mother, though she was but a few steps away, for
she could not move as quickly as they. It was
pleasant to see their sympathy, and hear their kind
inquiries. His mother soon comforted him; for he
had not been cut by the ice as they feared. The
blood from his nose testified to a pretty hard bump.
He soon forgot the pain, and was as happy as ever.
He will long remember his first sled ride on the
Why do you think, dear children, I have told you
this story about a child whom you have never seen?
I wanted to ask you, or rather have you ask yourselves,
if you are willing, as Eddie was, to do as your
mother thinks best? Much as he wanted to go on
the river, he felt satisfied to do as his mother wished.
I hope, when you know what your mother prefers,
you will make up your minds to give up your own
plans, and be happy in doing so.
I am not one of those who imagine children have
no trials. I know their lives are not all bright and
sunny. I have not forgotten being a child myself.
Many a hard battle has to be fought with wrong
feelings and wrong wishes; but never fear; resolve
to conquer yourselves, and subdue every thing that
is sinful. Every victory will make you stronger,
and render it easier for you to do right. Will
"If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try again."